A previous version of this story had an incorrect quote regarding the location of Apex Property Management and Pest Control
Robert Hawkins, with 12 years experience as MLA in Yellowknife Centre and three years experience as a Yellowknife city councillor, is throwing his hat back in the ring in the coming territorial election.
“After a four year hiatus, I’ve committed to run in Kam Lake,” Hawkins told Yellowknifer Thursday.
The decision to run in Kam Lake comes from Hawkins’ connection to the constituency, he said.
“I own a small business downtown called Apex Property Management and Pest Control and that business has a lot of partnerships and investments in Kam Lake,” said Hawkins.
“I see it as a good fit, because I have connections in the community that I can probably say the current MLA doesn’t.”
Hawkins’ attempt at a fourth term in Yellowknife Centre were derailed in the last election in 2015 when he was ousted by Julie Green, losing by a count of 470 votes to 389.
This time around he will be up against Kieron Testart who, like Green, is also wrapping up his first term in office.
Hawkins said his decision to run in Kam Lake stems from his concern that residents there are not having their issues addressed.
“What I’ve been seeing is that things are not that good and I’m concerned about that,” said Hawkins.
“The current MLA in the riding is not perceived in any way as a collaborator, and that is one thing I used to do very well. Another one of the other issues is that the current go-it-alone MLA is very focused on trying to make history and not putting the riding first.”
Hawkins is banking on his “great reputation of being a solid constituency MLA.”
“If people needed help, I would help them. I’d go to people in their homes if it was the only way to meet them.”
Hawkins said he has been disappointed by the lack of results over the past four years with MLAs not focusing on issues such as getting the NWT on a power grid, green investment and mine closures.
“I’ve been getting a little disappointed seeing some of the results, or lack of the results, but I’m excited and truly believe the best days can still be ahead of us,” said Hawkins. “The possibilities are endless, we could grid the NWT, do green investments once the federal government is decided. There’s a lot of opportunity.”
Addressing kitchen-table issues for the average working family are the issues Hawkins says he has always been connected to and politicians should focus on.
“What’s being lost here is the focus on things like mine closures and where are the MLAs fighting for this?” asked Hawkins.
“People are worried about the ripple effects of mines closing and that means job loss. I can assure you these are the types of issues that are causing duress and people are asking me if I’d be interested in coming back because these are the issues I have always been connected to.”
Hawkins said he is very excited to get back into politics and is looking forward to the opportunity to represent residents once again.
“I’m not a new person to the table but people know they’re going to get someone fighting for them and their issues,” said Hawkins.
“This is a fresh start, but it’s not a fresh face. I’m certainly someone they can count on.”
Yellowknifer reached out to Testart for a response but did not hear back by press time.